BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania wants Brussels to relocate its pan-European drug regulator EMA to Bucharest from London after Brexit, the government said on Wednesday, hoping that the fact that it still hosts no EU watchdogs will help make it an attractive candidate.
Romania, which joined the EU in 2007 together with its southern neighbor Bulgaria is the bloc's second poorest, and has lost tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists to the richer west since joining.
However, Romania is a leading EU member when it comes to its number of medical graduates.
"We are bidding for the agency's move to Romania. It's going to be a tough race but we're prepared for that. The government just approved a memorandum in this sense," EU Affairs Minister Ana Birchall told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"In contrast to others, Romania doesn't host any European agency, a decade after accession."
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) employs 890 staff and acts as a one-stop shop for drug approvals across the EU, but its future location is unclear after Britain's decision to leave the EU.
Other countries vying to host the agency include Denmark, Sweden, Spain, France, Ireland and Poland. As well as creating jobs, the EMA also has the potential to act as a hub for pharmaceuticals, one of Europe's most important industries.
The net average monthly wage for the healthcare system stood at 2,609 lei ($618.54) at the end of last year, nearly double what it was three years ago.
Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt, Greg Mahlich